The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Student Command (EFFSC) took a crushing defeat in the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) student representative council (SRC) elections, at least according to the provisional results.
If you go to the SRC elections page, and compare the names, you will find a single EFFSC member amongst the winners.
The big winners were the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) – which is made up of the Young Communists, ANC Youth League, and the Muslim Students Association.
According to News24, in 2017 12 out of 15 seats on the SRC went to the EFFSC, so this represents a complete rout.
Times LIVE reports that the 2018 elections were marred by violence, with the EFFSC assaulting a member of the PYA.
An anonymous EFFSC member who witnessed the attack told Times LIVE that this was because the PYA student had assaulted a female student on campus.
A PYA coordinator‚ Cebolenkosi Khumalo, who was also a witness, told Times LIVE that the fight was over posters being displayed at campus.
This comes after provisional results at the University of Johannesburg showed an EFF victory according to IOL.
I think this tweet is important for understanding this:
SASCO has won SRC elections at Wits University walloping the VBS Bank Student Command & other wannabe organizations! pic.twitter.com/MHqjVwT00Q
— Lazola Ndamase (@Lazola_Ndamase) October 17, 2018
Now this isn’t fair – the ANC is actually more implicated in shenanigans at VBS than the EFF ever were. For example amongst the allegations is that the ANC took money out of municipalities that were struggling to pay their bills, and invested it in VBS in exchange for bribes.
The EFF were not in a position to do that, though Floyd Shivambu has long been a defender of VBS bank in Parliament.
So in real terms it is not great that what is essentially the ANC won the SRC elections.
That said EWN reports that Floyd Shivambu has said his brother is prepared to pay back the money, thus essentially admitting his brother got the money.
And it is Floyd Shivambu’s name that has been most linked to the story for the simple reason that the EFF’s main claim to legitimacy is their purported opposition to corruption.
Nhahla Nene’s sins at the Public Investment Corporation did not look that serious. Nor did his meetings with the Guptas, however Nene’s reputation for honesty had meant that the news was particularly heart breaking.
I tend to view anybody who tries to curry some sort of affinity through things like racialised politics as very likely being a con-artist, but there are those who saw the EFF differently prior to the VBS scandal.
They saw a party that claimed to fight corruption, that was repeatedly thrown out of Parliament for objecting to a corrupt president who violated his oath of office and a corrupt parliamentary majority that refused to hold that president accountable.
This is the first real sign that the EFF’s response to the allegations has been less than satisfactory for their target audience. That said it is important to note that the EFF won at the University of Johannesburg, so just how much this means I don’t know.
It is important to also recognise that the EFF may have lost at Wits due to doing a shoddy job representing the students.
National concerns like Brian Shivambu shouldn’t cost the EFFSC that much at Wits, if the EFFSC were doing a good job. Resorting to violence is never a good look, though it is important to note that witnesses don’t agree on what precipitated it.
What this means in 2019 we will see in 2019.